Festival Info > Artists

2016 Artist Biographies

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Derrald Taylor - Carver - Yellowknife, NT

Derrald is a stone carver originally from Tuktoyaktuk, but now carves in Yellowknife. Derrald is a part of a large family of stone carvers and his father Bobby Pokiak inspired him to pick up stone carving from an early age. Derrald now works from a studio in Yellowknife he shares with other stone carvers from across the North. Derrald has been a part of the festival for a number of years, continuing his father’s legacy of soapstone carving in the Mackenzie Delta.


John Taylor - Carver - Tuktoyaktuk, NT

I’ve been carving for 12 years starting at a very young age of 14.  I was born Feb 1990 in Inuvik, but most of my life I was raised in Tuktoyaktuk.  I have been learning carving from most of my family.  William, Ronnie, Derrald, Ryan and many more.  Which started from my grandfather Bobby Taylor.

William Taylor - Carving - Inuvik, NT

From Tuktoyaktuk, William is both a long-time and a popular local carver who has been included in the festival gallery many times.  He works in stone and antler, and often favours carvings of whale hunters.


Blair Thorson - Visual Arts - Whitehorse, YT

Blair Thorson’s instantly recognizable watercolours painted on maps feature subjects that are indigenous to the area depicted, or objects of historical or cultural interest.  His artwork reflects the Northern lands in which he lives and has travelled.  

Blair feels that painting on a map captures time, place, and space on a two dimensional surface as well as keeping them out of the landfill.  He has added the element of copper to his artwork to help to emphasize the story being told by the image in the painting.  Every piece is an Original, he does not make prints.



Lena Wolki - Knitting and Traditional Arts - Sachs Harbour , NT

When one thinks of Lena, qiviut comes to mind: she knits with the world's most luxurious natural fibers, the wool of the soft undercoat of the musk ox. She hand spins much of the wool she uses. Northern (or Southern) winters can be much more enjoyable with one of Lena's qiviut scarves around the neck! She is also a prolific sewer and embroiderer of colourful kamiks and comfortable slippers among other things like purses, parkas, and covers, and she works with sealskin, and polar bear fur besides qiviut.  Lena is always sewing and making things!

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Artist Information

Apply as an Artist or Entertainer

If you are a visual artist or craftsperson living and creating art in the North (Yukon, NWT, or Nunavut) and are interested in taking part in the 2016 Great Northern Arts Festival please print and complete the following forms.

Your completed application and biography forms can be faxed (867-777-2017) to the Great Northern Arts Festival Office or sent by mail (P.O. Box 2921, Inuvik, NT, X0E 0T0).

We strongly encourage you to include slides or photographs of your work, as we need to see what you do. If you have digital photographs, you can e-mail them to us at (please remember to include who you are in the e-mail message).  

Our selection process will take place in March/April 2016.  

Next year's festival dates are
July 14th-July 23th, 2017.

Non-Northern Artists:

Please remember that it is our mandate to serve the community of Northern artists and craftspeople. Each year, though, we do try to bring several non-Northern artists to share their work and ideas. If you feel you have something particularly special to share, please contact us directly. Our budgets are limited, and we ask you to remember that most of our resources are dedicated to our mandated goals.

For non-northern artists, we will ask you for an application with the following additional information:

  • How you feel you can contribute to the festival.
  • How you feel the festival will benefit you.
  • To what degree will you require assistance with travel and accommodations.

Please keep in mind that we generally bring no more than five artists from outside the north - and those artists selected must fall within the boundaries of our theme for the season.


Interested in our line-up of artists at the Great Northern Arts Festival? Find our more about them here.

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